Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Monday, October 25, 2010

I Know I Had A 2x4 Around Here Some Place---

Poor, foolish man. Jonathan Chait begs Megan McArdle's pardon for something stupid that she said. (via) My goodness, that was a speedy obeisance. We haven't even see the McArdle post yet but already his apology is spreading like wildfire, if wildfire were harmless and inoffensive, not to mention apologetic.

Last week, Michael Kinsley wrote a really smart column completely dismantling the shoddy mathematical underpinnings of Greg Mankiw's self-pitying column about how high marginal tax rates will ruin his children's life. I linked it, with the headline, "Kinsley Curb Stomps Mankiw." This has Megan McArdle quite upset, and convinced once again that bloggers who are not Megan McArdle are driven by rage:

Call me a vaporing language nanny, but I thought it was pretty creepy when Jon Chait described another liberal journalist, Michael Kinsley, another journalist, as "curb stomping" economist Greg Mankiw for, yes, daring to suggest that higher marginal tax rates might have incentive effects. Woo-hoo! ...
But why stop with curb-stomping? Wouldn't it be fun to pile ten-thousand gleaming skulls of supply-siders outside the Heritage Offices? We could mount Art Laffer's head on a rotating musical pike that plays The Stars and Stripes Forever! Then, in the most hilarious surprise ending of all, the mob could turn on Jon Chait, douse him with gasoline and set him on fire, and then sack the offices of the New Republic!
Somehow, that's not actually funny.

We have just one thing to say in response:

Instead of telling McArdle to stick her 2x4 where the sun don't shine, he apologizes to the professional concern troll.
I'm willing to take my chances that the blog headline in question does not lead to me being burned alive. But, honestly, I'm sorry I gave offense. It was a headline I wrote quickly, and I thought the image of Mike Kinsley engaged in an act of violence was kind of funny because Mike is not really the violent sort, to say the least. Anyway, one person's little joke is another person's "rage of people who cannot bear to see their sacred ideals profaned," to quote McArdle.

Anyway, like I said, I'm not really worried that my blog item will instigate mobs to violence. But there's no point in causing McArdle such immense trauma over something I considered so trivial. So I will hereby endeavor to avoid any future headlines that would seem to celebrate violence or conceivably endanger the physical safety of Arthur Laffer or anybody else.

Heh. "Immense trauma."

Mrs. McArdle goes on to say:
I'll reiterate that this is not a "left wing blogs are angry and evil" post; I have no opinion about which side is worse, and I've never seen such arguments offer much in the way of convincing empirical data, beyond the evidence that whoever is making them really, really hates the other side. The example is an illustration, not a political indictment. I sense it going on on all sides of me, and it bothers me. A lot.

Petty partisan tricks are below her. Strange, then, that her husband's previous career as a partisan trickster, to put it politely, didn't bother Mrs. Suderman, but we suppose that this just proves Matthew Yglesias is right that valuable people don't need to follow the same rules as the less valuable people.
But perhaps it is explicable in an era when the federal budget is finally close to riding off the rails.

She finally remembered that she is ostensibly writing an economics blog, not posting on Facebook.
With Social Security and Medicare nudging into deficit, and the government's share of GDP already pretty high, we're fighting over a lot of taboo trade-offs, in a context where we can't help but bring money into it. The result is the rage of people who cannot bear to see their sacred ideals profaned--and worse, to see the profaners walking around apparently happy. Only a primal scream of outrage will do.

Is this supposed to mean that conservatives and libertarians were right all along and public assistance won't work? McArdle has wisely given up using numbers, is she now giving up making statements in favor of making vague allusions as well? We do appreciate "primal scream of outrage," however, although McArdle might want to think twice about criticiizing Chait's violent imagery when she has a habit of doing the same.

UPDATE: Crooked Timber has the same thought. McArdle whips up another self-exculpatory post in response, which we will explicate in loving detail as soon as possible.

SECOND UPDATE: The comments on that later post are awesome!


Clever Pseudonym said...

"Jon Chait described another liberal journalist, Michael Kinsley, another journalist,..."


atat said...

Next she'll criticize him for failing to correct a typo.

Steve said...

Wouldn't it be fun to pile ten-thousand gleaming skulls of supply-siders outside the Heritage Offices? We could mount Art Laffer's head on a rotating musical pike that plays The Stars and Stripes Forever! Then, in the most hilarious surprise ending of all, the mob could turn on Jon Chait, douse him with gasoline and set him on fire, and then sack the offices of the New Republic!

These are, what, the first good ideas MMcA has ever had?

Susan of Texas said...

This whole situation is full of potential for another McMeltdown.

kth said...

We could mount Art Laffer's head on a rotating musical pike that plays The Stars and Stripes Forever!

Not that anyone would notice the difference.

Steve said...

McMegMeg in the post responding to Crooked Timber: "in your mid-twenties, empathy is often largely theoretical."

Your mid-twenties!!

atat said...

But as she later explains after somebody points out she had just turned thirty when she wrote that, "mid-twenties" was just a hypothetical.

Not kidding.

Clever Pseudonym said...

From the supposed "mea culpa" post

"So I shouldn't have written it, full stop. No excuses."

This is after she spent several paragraphs making excuses.

"Those who link it never, ever mention that it referred to violent protesters..."

From the original 2 x 4:

"picks up a two-by-four and teaches them how very effective violence can be when it's applied in a firm, pre-emptive manner."

Pre-emptive is not sorting the violent from the non-violent. It's pre-emptive. Anticipatory. Before the act. She really does think we're all too stupid to see past her BS, doesn't she?

Syz said...

>> I've never seen such arguments offer much in the way of convincing empirical data

This expression is supposed to convince you that Megan is both open-minded and scientific. But Megan studiously avoids any facts, arguments or data which upset her tightly held preconceptions. Thus, she can honestly state I've never seen such arguments when, in truth, she never looks.

Kathy said...

Its obvious that arglebargle is not very intelligent or perceptive.

Are any of the paid shills/apologits (apologists) for the Right of much more than average IQs? Most don't even reach the triple digits. I'm guessing Meg is about 107 on the scale, if you don't measure math skills or logic ability.

Anonymous said...

The last time someone got away with lying about their age during youthful indiscretions, he became president.

Also, this reminds me so much of Megan's hypothetical pharmaceutical industry numbers.

Someone should just keep a running tab of Megan's apologies that show up on a Friday when no one reads it, or non apology apologies, particularly her first Iraq War apology.


Anonymous said...

Of course, there's also the revealing bit where she refuses to read many right wing bloggers, which is why she's always a) bashing lefties b) has no clue why her worldview is so narrow c) because she probably knows which way her bread is buttered with regards to her 10 regular commentators.

Remember the time she tried to bash Limbaugh, but then apologizes to her commentators in the comments because Limbaugh is a purveryor of satire, and has NEVER race baited ever.

or the time she apologized for James O'Keefe and ACORN? (wait this never happened)

aimai said...

I'm more disturbed than I like to re-read Megan's two by four piece. Because I was one of those people who were at those anti war marches at which, predictably, there was absolutely no violence *other* than police violence. The big rally in New York was composed of grandparents and school kids and babies in buggies and college students and middle aged women like me. Also, actually, New Yorkers. Actual New Yorkers not imaginary sixties hard hats showin' the hippies who'se boss. What a disgusting person Megan is and was. Truly, pathetically, disgusting. First she mistakes her own life, like standing in line for a cel phone, for that of a refugee and then when in her own life she has a chance to participate in mass political action she runs and hides behind imaginary brown shirts, protesting even more imaginary fake kristallnachts against Korean Grocers by elite college students? What the fuck?


Susan of Texas said...

She does her usual little tap dance but she can't hide the fact that she's for "preemptive" violence, both against innocent foreigners and innocent anti-war protesters. She says her link (now dead) was "seeming to indicate" that some unknown group will commit some unknown violence, which is good enough for her to make her violent wish. Both the Iraqis and the war protesters have not done anything wrong yet and she wants to attack them first. And her justification is irrational fear due to our upcoming invasion of a country that didn't attack us. Finally, she sees this unprovoked attack against innocent parties as amusing.

I'll have more on this, especially in light of the latest mob attack on liberals. There are so many facets of this situation, and it is utterly vital that this situation is handled now, in the most forceful manner possible.

Alice Miller, as I've said before, tried to understand the Good German phenomenon and came to understand that people who'd been mistreated in childhood obey their authorities and participate in heinous crimes because they did not develop empathy for others and are full of deep rage, resentment and fear. Bob Altemeyer, as you know, says that if their authorities give them permission to commit violence, authoritarian followers will feel no sense of responsibility for their actions--that is all shifted to the leaders. The followers are just following orders, so to speak.

This is what I'm working for. This is the moment that every single word I've written has tried to prevent. I knew I couldn't, of course, but I wanted to say over and over and over and over until it sunk in---we are no different from the Germans who turned a blind eye to murder. We are authoritarian, patriarchal, religious, undereducated, angry and afraid, and we will see hell unleashed on earth if we don't stop this now.

Anonymous said...

God there's a little policeman inside her.

Her basic line about the Paul supporters and their beat-down, "It's perfectly natural to see a protester and want to fuck them up, but two wrongs (!) don't make a right, so steal their signs instead."

Modulo Myself

Lurking Canadian said...

Your mid-twenties!!

Evidently, her calculator doesn't even go as high as thirty.

Clever Pseudonym said...

For most people, empathy is not theoretical in their mid-20s. It's real and they exercize it on a constant basis. Junior high kids, maybe not so much; Megan can project her emotionally arrested development all she wants. That doesn't make it a reality for everyone. I'm certainly more mature now than I was in my mid-twenties, but I still felt empathy back then as much as I do now. She's a defensive idiot.